Benton Found Home in Morgantown

Middle linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton of Shabazz High (Newark, N.J.) committed to West Virginia on Monday. What were the reasons and how does he fit into the defense? FOXSportsNEXT has the answers.

When Al-Rasheed Benton visited West Virginia last month, he called his coach during the game to talk about how much he loved it.

The feeling never left.

Despite being recruited hard to make visits to Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the Shabazz High (Newark, N.J.) linebacker decided to end his recruitment Monday by committing to the Mountaineers.

"When he called me from the game, he said ‘It's crazy down here,' " Shabazz coach Darnell Grant said. "He liked Pittsburgh and (assistant) coach Rob Moore from Syracuse was in his ear. That was the toughest part, telling the coaches at the other schools because of the relationships he built.

"He has agonized over this. He took unofficial visits and went through the process and was (tough) enough to tell some people "no" flat-out if he didn't think it was a good fit."

Benton plays middle linebacker at Shabazz, but was recruited to play any of the linebacker positions for the Mountaineers.

"He's a lot quicker than people think," Grant said. "He can play SAM or WILL. I think he can cover people and rush the passer. I think he can play either place. I like him on the scrimmage."

Benton's decision to go to choose West Virginia was more than just football since he plans to major in engineering and wanted a school that would embrace him playing and taking such a challenging major.

But the football aspect was also key.

"They play a high-profile schedule (and) they get the best people there," Grant said. "They have a great offensive system in place and they need impact players on defense.

"He wants to be engineer. He comes from a great family, and he has a big family, and they can come see him play and not break the bank."

There is also the feel of the campus, which is something Benton wanted since he spent his life in the inner city.

"He grew up his whole life here and it's a totally different atmosphere, a different dynamic," Grant said of Morgantown, W.V. "I think it will be a good experience to get around other people."

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